Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Creaming Butter/Sugar


Recommended Posts

For cake baking.

 

Simple question I think, but can't seem to find an answer through searches.

 

Many cakes/batter recipes will tell you to cream butter/sugar. I get that.

 

Is there really any difference obatined if you cream the butter first BEFORE you add the sugar?

 

Some recipes will tell you to cream the butter then add the sugar. In my small mind it really shouldn't make a difference as long as

you get to the same texture/fluffiness of the butter sugar mix? One is trying to get the sugar to combine/melt into the butter a bit, correct?

 

If I use regualar granulated sugar I might lean towards adding them together to give the sugar more time to liquify a bit. If I was using castor

or super fine I might add it after creaming the butter first. But in the end I don't thing there is really any difference.

 

Soften or melt the butter per instructions, toss in the sugar and cream them together in a single step is what I tend to do.

 

Is there a specific case that comes to mind where there would be significant reason (for a cake batter) where you should cream the butter

first before adding the sugar?

 

Or is that only if the butter isn't at the right softness at the start?

Edited by rbenash (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think "creaming" means the act of mixing the butter and sugar into a creamy smooth mixture.

I dont think it has anything to do with the softness of the butter.

 

Yes Im correct

 

Creaming, in baking, is the technique of blending ingredients — usually granulated sugar — together with a solid fat like shortening or butter. The technique is most often used in making buttercream, cake batter or cookie dough.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creaming_%28food%29

  • Like 1

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that if you cream the butter until it's white and fluffy and looks almost like whipped cream and THEN add the sugar, the mixture is much fluffier than if you started out with butter and sugar together.  Now, whether that makes a difference in the final product, I don't know.  :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

one can cream butter all by its lonesome -

 

according to Cookwise the purpose of creaming butter is to incorporate air into the butter/fat - and temperature apparently is important - too warm is not a good thing.

 

regrets, no idea if adding sugar earlier / later makes a difference.  I do it later as it seems to incorporate a bit faster, but whether it makes a difference to the end product, no clue.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience, the only reason to cream the butter first would be if the butter was quite cold and you needed to beat it smooth.  Cold butter can be quite persistent in staying lumpy despite a good beating with sugar.  But if your butter is soft/pliable, I don't think it matters.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, I don't think it makes a difference if the butter is creamed beforehand or not. I think it's just that different chefs have different methods. Those who cream the butter before adding the sugar will do that consistently, and those who cream butter/sugar together will do that consistently. I don't think I've ever seen the same author interchange the method in the same cookbook. If they did that, then I'd wonder if the different method really made a difference in the end product. (Or if the author was just, well, inconsistent.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always done both together, but I don't think it matters.  All you're really doing is getting the sugar partly dissolved and the butter the right consistency to mik with the eggs.

 

A bigger issue is incorporating too much air- frequently, there's not enough flour/eggs/other stabilizer to support the extra volume, so it can collapse.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Soften or melt the butter per instructions, toss in the sugar and cream them together in a single step is what I tend to do."

 

Don't melt the butter, that defeats the purpose.You want to be incorporating air bubbles, and that won't happen with melted butter.

 

HERE's a video on the topic, with a comparison of results with creaming and without.

 

And, yes, it's not considered creaming if all you are doing is whipping the butter by itself.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in my professional baking days (many decades ago) in school and in my mom's bakery, we always beat the butter first, until it was somewhat fluffy and then added the sugar, spilling it in gradually and then turning up the speed and beating it until it was lighter in color and quite fluffy.

The butter would come right out of the walk-in cooler so was always quite firm and we had it in 1-pound and 2-pound blocks that could be dropped right into the mixer bowl to start beating on low speed.

 

I've always done it this way because for me it is pretty much second nature and I don't even think about it.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies and references! I typically will "whip" the butter first if it hasn't set out long enough to soften then add the sugar. But if it's already at room temperature, soft, I'll typically just whip/cream togehter in one step then add the eggs. I've the seen the procedure in recipes both ways. Baking with my partner yesterday and she was very concerned that when I added them together in one step. Butter at room temp/softened. I told her if the butter is already soft it doesn't matter and that in my experience it allows the sugar to combine/incorporate a little better when using regualr granulated sugar. So just checking myself.

 

The pointer to the video is excellent.

Edited by rbenash (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope it doesn't make a difference to the final product, because I always cream them together regardless of what the recipe says. Creaming the butter on its own and then adding the sugar just seemed like an unnecessary step (but what do I know...).

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree emmalish - I've pretty much been doing that for cakes and cookies for a long time now.

 

But - the control in it all is that the butter is at room temp. I have never had a problem or complaint or noticed any issue myself.

 

What happens though is that you might be working with someone and they see you throw the butter and sugar into the bowl in one step and they get all concerned because you aren't "following the recipe" I simply tell them that as long as the butter is soft and at room temp you can single step the procedure and that the advantage is that the sugar has more time to melt into the creamed result.

Edited by rbenash (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought that creaming the sugar in the butter was advantageous because the sharp crystalline edges of the sugar help to cut up and aerate the butter more thoroughly than I would just beating the butter alone. I have no idea whether that's true, lol, but that's what I've always believed.

I think that is what happens. It just doesn't seem to matter if the butter is creamed by itself first, before adding the sugar to it and then continuing the creaming process.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...